Monday, November 9, 2009
The Day Things Turned Lefty
For golf fans, this day was probably inevitable. Phil Mickelson, the second best golfer in the world rankings and best golfer playing the game at this moment, played in the final group with Tiger Woods, number one in the rankings and number two as of today, and, to put it kindly, handed Tiger his ass.
Yep. Mickelson took down Tiger with a putter that should probably be banned from the game if others hope to compete in the next few months and some moxie that we haven't seen since his amateur playing days (back when Phil was a young lad, he was a bit of a prick on the course, if you can imagine).
With that win at the HSBC CHampions, when Phil shot a final round 69, he did one of the more important things we've seen in golf in ages. He made us all realize that no matter the luck or the opponent or the course or the conditions ... if you go out, and play some good golf, you can beat Tiger. No lucky 3-iron on the 18th green to set up a birdie. No final round 61 to come from behind the pack. Just go play golf, forget about the man in the red Nike shirt, and try to finish a stroke or two less than him.
There is no sport as mentally challenging as golf, and I think anyone would agree with that. You spend a total of about two minutes actually hitting golf shots, and the rest about all the other shit on the course. "I don't like the looks of this tee shot." "This putts gonna be fast." "Don't miss this right." "Don't yank this left."
It's a mental ping-pong game against yourself. Tiger adds another opponent. It was nice to see Mickelson finally do what most will never be able to. He forgot who he was playing with.
PHILIPPE LOPEZ, AFP/Getty Images